Court orders Troy officials and Muslim group to work together on mosque project – The Oakland Press
A federal court orders Trojan officials and representatives of a Muslim association to work together to establish the city’s first mosque.
Two lawsuits have been filed in the US District Court in Detroit over Troy’s rejection of the Adam Community Center’s proposed mosque on Rochester Road, south of Wattles Road.
The court ruled in favor of the US Department of Justice in March, which filed one of the lawsuits against the city three years ago, alleging religious discrimination.
Adam Community Center filed the other lawsuit, in which both parties were ordered to work together.
“We are very optimistic in light of the DOJ case,” said Amy Doukoure, legal representative for the Adam Community Center and attorney for the Council on American Islamic Relations-Michigan.
“The goal is for Muslims to have a place of worship (in Troy) like everyone else,” she said.
Adam Community Center operates a restaurant and banquet center on the Rochester Road site. The group wanted to convert an unused warehouse on the site into a mosque.
Troy City Attorney Lori Grigg-Bluhm said the city is ‘pursuing in good faith’ in talks with the Muslim association, but remains firm in its assertion that it did not discriminate. against the group when she denied several deviations from her zoning ordinance.
Doukoure said the zoning ordinance was applied unfairly at the Adam Community Center. Other places of worship in Troy have had similar issues with issues such as setbacks from nearby residential areas and have been granted waivers, she said.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds found that variance denials “significantly burdened the religious exercise of a Muslim group seeking to establish the only permanent place of Islamic worship” in Troy, according to a DOJ statement released when Edmunds ruled against the city two months ago.
According to the DOJ, the judge said the city violated the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, which states that government agencies must give religious groups the same consideration given to non-religious groups.